Elastic Habits: My Experiment and Insight

In this post, I will share with you my honest insight about "Elastic Habits" that I have gained from my experiment in the past three weeks.

Let's dive right in. 

(Please feel free to skip this if you know what an Elastic Habits system is about.)

What is an "elastic habit"?

It is a habit system I've learned from a book called Elastic Habits: How to Create Smarter Habits That Adapt to Your Day.

For a habit to work, it should be adaptable yet stable enough to give structure and control of our habit creation.

I'll explain.

Say, you've been wanting to create a writing habit so that you can start working on a book. By telling yourself you will write every day, that could be adaptable but here's how to make it structured and controllable:

Cell

Write a blog post

Journaling

Write my book

Mini

10 minutes

Morning section

10 minutes

Plus

30 minutes

Evening section

30 minutes

Elite

60+ minutes

Both sections

60 minutes

Example of elastic habit of writing

The same applies to the number of habits you want to create at the same time. The book suggests doing only 3 at a time. In fact, an important recommendation in the book is 3:3:3, meaning doing 3 habits at a time, 3 levels of intensity and 3 lateral options.

The book also recommends that you do (and track) your habits every single day, without fail.

Alright, now let's get into...

My Elastic Habits

...so that you know better where I am coming from. 

I have been experimenting with this system for three weeks now.  

Here's how I Practice Elastic Habits

As recommended in the book, I used 3:3:3, like below:

Mindfulness

Cell

Mediate

Mindful eating

Mindful walk

Mini

1 minute

1 meal

1 minute

Plus

10 minutes

2 meals

10 minutes

Elite

30 minutes

3 meals

60 minutes

Writing

Cell

Write a blog post

Journaling

Write my book

Mini

10 minutes

Morning section

10 minutes

Plus

30 minutes

Evening section

30 minutes

Elite

60+ minutes

Both sections

60 minutes

Example of elastic habit of writing

Reading

Cell

Read a book

Read about facilitation

Research for/about blogging

Mini

10 minutes

1 article

10 minutes

Plus

30 minutes

2 articles

30 minutes

Elite

60+ minutes

3 articles

60 minutes

example of elastic habit of reading

I have been doing them every single day without fail for three weeks now. 

And I've used...

Airtable to Track My Elastic Habits

Well, I've just done it for the last 6-7 days after I couldn't have the official journal shipped to where I live. 

Airtable for Elastic Habits

Turned out it's a great idea to use the app!

Insight about Elastic Habits

After three weeks of practice, here's what I found out.  

It is a habit system for people who like flexibility in life. 

While I am not so sure how and why most attempts at creating good habits fail, I know that my day is not as rigid as I want it to be. My attempts to stick to meditating for 10 minutes a day at 5:30 am have failed, many times. 

I tried and failed at journaling after I send my kids to school. There are days I have to do site visits. Bad days have killed my journaling habit completely and it took me till now.  

Three weeks is not a long time to claim that Elastic Habits work, but the habit system has allowed me to get my Mini wins every single day and push my limits when my energy is high. 

Using Airtable to Track Your Elastic Habits

One of the most important recommendations in the book is to track your habits every day. In fact an entire chapter in the book is about how to do it and there's also a companion journal for that. 

Unfortunately, the truth about me is that I might forget my journal, but not my phone. (Poor me, I know!)

I tried Coach.me and a few other ways including Excel and Google Sheet, but Airtable is the best by far because it works perfect on my iPhone! 

Besides, I can easily create dropdown items to save time. The best part is that I can add new levels of intensity as my habits improve.  

If you can resonate to this, feel free to use copy my Airtable base for your template. 

Elasticity Vs Running from Fear of Change

At some point in time, I actually doubt the elastic habit system as I am also doing Fearless Training to help me embrace my discomfort and emerge out of it to bring meaningful work to life for the people I care deeply about. 

The question I got was... am I running away from my fear doing the elastic habit system?

Or will it just get me back into my habitual pattern of going around it? (I am very good at it!)

So... here's what I have learned as I meditated on it for a couple of days. 

Make sure that your lateral options do give you the opportunity to embrace your discomfort that come from whatever that is meaningful to you, instead of turning you away or beating about the bush.

Over to You...

I really hope you enjoyed my insight about the Elastic Habits system.

And now I’d like to hear from you.

What's take on it?

What have you learned?

What surprised you most about this post?  

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

About the Author

Samphy is a facilitator, blogger, consultant and lifelong learner. His writing and ideas here focus around self-improvement, blogging and facilitation.

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